Put in a (slightly) technical term, collaboration is the term used to define the way in which two or more individuals work together on a project or task. Effective collaboration is key to ensure a smooth-running organization.
I collaborate daily with my team members – mainly with the marketing and development teams. It’s a great way to generate new ideas, evolve existing ones and generally be more productive.
However, the importance of collaboration between team members has already been widely talked about (go ahead and Google ‘Why is collaboration so important?’) and extensively studied – I mean, we’ve published countless articles on the subject ourselves.
And whilst it is an important subject, why does it seem that organizations aren’t placing the same significance on collaboration between their business and its clients, just as they do when it comes to collaboration between internal team members?
Organizations should see that collaborative teams are generating better results for a business, and then apply the same amount of investment into clients, in order to maximise your business’s potential.
This blog post aims to look at the importance of collaboration between organizations and their clients, the barriers to successful client collaboration, and explore the ways in which these barriers can be broken down.
Why should your organization be focusing on client collaboration?
There are three main reasons as to why your organization should focus its attention towards collaborating with clients, from saving time and money to increasing client loyalty. So, let’s take a look at them in more detail.
- Effective collaboration will improve transparency
Collaboration enables two-way participation in a project. This means giving your clients the much-needed transparency throughout each task. And by welcoming feedback and opinions from your clients, they will feel valued and more willing to work with you again in the future.
- Effective collaboration will increase client loyalty
If you want long-term clients, you’ll have to incorporate collaboration into your strategy. Collaboration increases engagement, and engaged clients are happy and committed ones. You’ll also find that the more loyal your clients are to your business, the more advocates you’ll attract for your brand.
- Effective collaboration will save time and money
Imagine that you experience a miscommunication, say, on how a project is going to be carried out. Valuable time and money are going to be wasted, as you have to spend time resolving the issue with your clients. This could have been avoided in the first place – since effective collaboration aligns your organization with your clients.
After identifying the reasons for focusing our attention on the clients, let’s look at the issues you may need to overcome before attaining effective collaboration.
What is preventing organizations from working effectively with clients?
If your organization is facing the following barriers, they’re going to need to be overcome if you want to achieve successful client collaboration.
- No centralized location for collaborative working
Straight away, you’ll realize that you’re facing issues with transparency if your clients haven’t got a central place for collaborating with your organization. Storage will become messy, files will get lost, communication will be sporadic and you’ll be faced with unhappy clients.
- Inefficiency caused by distance and time differences
When your organization is working with clients on an international scale, you’re still going to want the efficiency of being able to collaborate together as if you’re in the same room. However, distance and time zone differences are going to cause delays in progress, especially if you’re still relying on phone calls and email to keep projects moving.
- Disorganized management of important documentation
If a client wants to find a file that you’ve already shared with them, chances are that they will need to go through previous emails in search of an attachment. And failing that, they’ll be on the phone to you, asking to send over another copy. Disorganized file management is going to set your business back.
Now that some of the barriers have been identified, we can begin looking at the necessary steps towards creating more effective collaboration between your organization and its clients.
How can these issues be overcome and effective collaboration be achieved?
In short, a client portal can be the solution to your problems. Client portals are a SaaS product, designed to improve the way in which your clients interact with your organization. Clients will be able to access and share content and communicate with your business – securely, from a central location (the cloud). Let’s have a look at how effective client collaboration can be accomplished by introducing a client portal into your organization.
- Create a secure space to share from anywhere
Client portals enable organizations to come together with clients, within a centralized and secure environment. They allow your clients to simply log in (securely, with measures such as two-factor authentication), upload and view files, have discussions and communicate, organize tasks, set events and much more.
- Encourage active participation
With access to a client portal, clients can actively participate and collaborate with your business from within the solution. Whether that’s to provide feedback and sign off on a document, contribute to a group chat, plan a task, update an event and more – geographical location and time zone differences will no longer be an issue.
- Make it easy to access information
You can reduce the amount of time it takes for your clients to search for their documents by making everything accessible from their portal. Information can be categorized and easy to find with a quick search or click of a button. You’ll also be eliminating the frustration of relying on email and sending attachments back both forth, which is both insecure and inefficient.
Now that you have a better understanding of client portals, and how they can enable effective collaboration between your organization and its clients, you can start by learning about the features you should look for in your solution.
Are you ready to break down the barriers?
Clinked can help you keep your information in one place, with customized and secure portals. Clients and team members can access their documents, discussions, events, tasks and more – all from a centralized environment. Get started today.